Month: October 2021
Happy Reformation Day: ARBC Worship Ramp-Up (10.31.2021)
Using Social Media Evangelistically
Christ called us to take His gospel into every nation and people group. Social media, yes, serves as one of the many environments to which the Great Commission applies.
- Does your page tell more about your political leanings than your spiritual convictions?
- Does your page exalt self or your Savior?
- Does your page tear down or build up?
- Does your page discourage or encourage?
- Do you engage with others harshly or with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16)?
- Are you ashamed of Jesus because you may lose followers or have others come against you?
- Do you bash or build up the church?
- Does social media hold you more than Christ does?
We are Christians everywhere–even social media. Those pages are not just our pages. If we belong to Christ, then so does everything else that belongs to us. It’s His page.
Now go, and make disciples!
5 Apologetics Questions Every Christian Should Learn How to Answer
To engage the resources mentioned, click on the title on the YouTube embed.
Peace from the Prince of Peace : Good Morning Devotional for 10.29.2021
Good morning! Learned, received, heard, seen. What do we mean here? It’s a perfect progression. We learn the truths of Scripture and, ultimately, about the person and work of Jesus in and through us. But it’s not enough just to learn, but to receive it—that is, to embrace it, surrender to it. Heard means the continual listening of the word either from the pulpit in the main gathering, or in discipleship and conversation. Seen means that you are seeing Christ exemplified in Paul and those around him. Take all of that, and put it into practice. Walk in the light.
It comes down to whether we really believe what God has said. It comes down to whether we are ready to learn and embrace it. It comes down to making sure we, like Christ, are ready to serve, not just to be served. You see, there’s an epidemic in our churches. Worse than the plague. It’s an epidemic of consumerism. Me-ism. If something doesn’t directly minister to someone, they will not be a part of it. Mark Dever once talked to an individual who loved Jesus and was doing many things for the Kingdom—but didn’t want to involve himself in church. Why? “Because they might slow him down.” Dever wisely said, “Did you ever think that God might want to use you to speed others up?”
That’s an epidemic in the church. We won’t connect with something that doesn’t directly minister to us—but maybe God is calling you to (1) be reminded of things as a safeguard for you –remember 3:1, but also (2) to remember that Jesus himself did not come to be served but to serve, and God is calling you to serve as well. It’s not about you. Say that with me: “Church is not about me!”
Matthew Henry once said, “Peace is such a precious jewel, that I would give anything for it but truth.” You see, friends, we fight for truth. But if truth of God’s Word is not a part of the contention, then we strive in humility to stay level-headed and look to restore. We go to our prince of peace in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.
In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we!
Do You Believe This Truth in the Midst of Suffering? Good Morning Devotional for 10.28.2021
Good morning–and happy birthday, mom! Some believe that when God is present, evil and suffering will be absent and vice versa—if God is absent, then evil and suffering will be present. Some put it even more specifically. Some say, “Christians believe that God is all-loving and all-powerful—yet evil exists. He is either all-powerful and doesn’t care, or he’s all-loving and not powerful enough to do anything about it.”
This plugs in to this account in a stark way. Mary and Martha knew that Jesus loved them. Martha approached Jesus and said something that many would chime with: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21). A sadness pervades this particular statement. She does go on, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
But don’t we know of some who stop at the end of v. 21? Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. We do see Mary stopping there… maybe due to her grief she stopped there. But if we stop there, we may begin to wonder if God is there. But remember, the presence of suffering and evil does not equate to the absence of God.
Jesus reassures here that He is the resurrection and the life. Jesus asks Martha, “Do you believe this?” It’s a question we must ask ourselves—do we believe this? As we look and reflect on this tragedy, we tend to simply look at what we can see and let the feelings dictate. Again, why do we have this sense of issue when something tragic or even unfair seems to happen? We must recognize that Christ came to rescue from this—but not to prevent it.
(From a sermon from April 21, 2013.)
A Godly Shrewdness: Good Morning Devotional for 10.27.2021
Good morning! Persecution is always a reality for those who are disciples and missionaries of Jesus. Therefore, we must recognize the schemes of those who are against us, always realizing the innocence of our Savior in the midst of that persecution.
In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul tells Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” We have to realize that there is an adversary who seeks to undermine God’s truth and divert us from focusing on the path He calls us to walk. Therefore, God has promised not to leave us along but to give us strength based on His might, not ours. As we saw from the previous passages, Satan will come along to have us undermine God’s design, moving away from being filled with the Spirit (v. 18) but being filled with… anything else.
God has a design, but Satan has “schemes” as well. While Satan is not Almighty, He certainly is mighty. We must recognize the schemes God calls us to execute even as we see what Satan’s schemes are. Are we aware of what God is calling us to do as part of the Great Commission? Do we study the schemes of Satan? May God give us a godly shrewdness as He sends us out into our sphere of influence.
The Great Compassion of our Heavenly Father: Good Morning Devotional for 10.26.2021
Good morning! James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) rightly noted, “Some Psalms are addressed to God, some are spoken to other people–the righteous, sinners, Israel, the Gentile nations, other groups. But in Psalm 103 the psalmist is speaking to himself.”
In the previous verse, the Psalmist reminded God’s covenant people, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). This shows the compassion of God who provides what His children needed–rescue from the penalty of their sins and a restoration of the relationship destroyed by the sin of Adam and Eve.
We are but dust (Psalm 103:14), yet God loves us enough to send His Son to give us life eternal. From dust to eternal life. He relates to us not just as a king to his subjects, but as a father to his children. In 1 John 2:1-2, we read:
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Do you know, dear Christian, how great and vast the Father’s love is for you? You may struggle with your earthly Father, but I pray you will see the beauty of His love and compassion for you in Christ!
A.S.K. for Kingdom Purposes: Good Morning Devotional for 10.25.2021
Good morning! Jesus calls us to approach God with an understanding of our need, to take action in seeking what He calls us to seek, and to keep on knocking with persevering knocks. All of these are under the umbrella of prayer.
Does this mean we will receive whatever we ask for? No, not in our flesh. Yet, in Matthew 6:33, Jesus gives us the lynchpin for the entire Sermon on the Mount and the undergirding of this verse. If we are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then our prayers will be fueled by Kingdom-first mentalities and actions.
In other words, we ask, seek, and knock with a desire to see Kingdom-first work done in us and through us.
Are our lives, our prayers, our actions fueled to exalt King Jesus or to exalt ourselves? What are we asking? What are we seeking? What are we persevering toward? It’s all about the Kingdom! It’s all about King Jesus.
Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you seeking first His Kingdom? Are you aware of your need and how Christ is the only one who can fulfill that need?